A Coach’s Story

An Old Boy’s Insight

“I was coaching one of those midget hockey teams a few years ago. The kids were 12 or 13 years old, and our most talented player kept getting caught up with retaliation penalties. I wasn’t quite sure how I should handle it, but here’s what I did:

After his last penalty, we were getting beaten, when I pulled the team together in the locker room and I asked, ‘Do you think of the other guys on this team as your friends?’ Nobody had to say anything, but their heads all bobbed up and down like one of those bobble-head dolls.

I kept going with this. ‘If the other players are more than just teammates, if they are really your friends, don’t you have an obligation to look out for them? To look out for one another?’ Again, the heads bobbed up and down. So then I went for the clincher.

So if you are all looking out for one another, if you’ve got one another’s backs, then how can you put your own selfish desire to get back at somebody who tripped you or did something stupid to you – how can you put that selfish desire above the good of your teammates and friends?’

Do I need to tell you that that was the end of our retaliation problem? Deep down these boys, they care for one another. And if you can tap into that goodness, you can do great things. Even in a goofy midget hockey game.”



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